Wherever you are right now, whatever your past, you can be a successful entrepreneur or serial entrepreneur.
Let’s first get the ‘serial entrepreneur’ myth out of the way
Look around any social networking site and it won’t be long before you find people, calling themselves serial entrepreneurs.
They’re everywhere. Or so it appears. However, as is often the case, all is not what it seems. In fact, 99.9% of the people I see calling themselves serial entrepreneurs… are not.
They aren’t even entrepreneurs.
They are serial starters!
Allow me to explain.
Serial entrepreneurs Vs serial starters
Serial entrepreneurs: These rare people build a series of successful businesses and fully realise the potential of each business, before they move on. A well known example is serial entrepreneur Ev Williams. Ev founded blogger and sold it to Google for millions, then co-founded Twitter and is now working with Medium.
Serial starters: These are the people we see everywhere, who start a series of enterprises, yet never successfully finish developing any of them. They lack the grit and commitment shown by entrepreneurs. So when the going gets tough, they get demotivated and quit. The vast majority of self-proclaimed serial entrepreneurs fit in this enormous group.
Why are serial starters so common?
It’s extremely easy to start a new venture. It’s exciting. It brings motivation with it. It gets them up early in the mornings and keeps them up late at night. Everything is new. A blank slate. A new beginning. Endless possibilities.
Then, after a while, the real work begins. Not the new enterprise, shiny work. The real nitty gritty work:
- The sales calls.
- The rejections.
- The unreturned mail.
- The broken promises from those who said they would help.
- The cash flow problems.
- The hard knocks.
As the shine wears off, the momentum drops for the serial starters. So, they look for the next shiny thing. The cycle repeats.
A serial entrepreneur has grit and commitment
You don’t need to start of rich, to be an entrepreneur or serial entrepreneur. You do need grit and commitment though.
Yes, some entrepreneurs, such as Sir Richard Branson, start off from a wealthy family, with a world class education and contacts. In many ways, it’s harder to show that kind of grit when you come from such a privileged background.
However, other serial entrepreneurs, like Ev Williams who I mentioned earlier, start from scratch. No wealthy parents. No world-class connections. Ev grew up on a farm and worked on the farm. He had just 18 months of college education. He’s now worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The common factor here is grit.
The value of finishing
I remember a story about Ev Williams when he was starting Blogger. Ev talked about how he used to look for loose change in his couch, so he had enough money for a coffee. Serial starters would not persevere through a situation like that. Yet, showing the grit to make it past the tough times is the only way to succeed.
In short: The rewards go to those who cross the finishing line. Not those who start a series of races, which they fail to finish.